UCF wins War on I4
Let me put this right up front, in my 3 decades of covering the UCF Knights football team, I have never seen a better game than last weekends contest against rival USF Bulls. I was there when Daunte Culpepper threw for season highs in downtown Orlando’s Citrus bowl stadium, when Matt Prader kicked the Knights to major wins, when the team beat their first ever AP ranked team and when Blake Bortles took them to a bowl game in Tampa, hell I’ve been on the sidelines longer then any current coach, I was even there against Texas in the downpour when they christened their brand spankin new on campus stadium, but what I witnessed last weekend was truly mind blowing! This was no doubt an instant classic and game of the year for sure. UCF Head coach Scott Frost took his team from 0-12 to 11-0 in just two seasons, and with a quarterback from Hawaii who stands less that 6 foot tall and should in my opinion, be in the Heisman running this year!
UCF has lead the entire 2017 NCAA football season in scoring points, and this game was no different. If you love offense, UCF's win over its in-state rival -- dubbed the War on I-4 -- that will send the Knights to the AAC Championship Game to play Memphis was most certainly for you. In total the two teams were responsible for 1,214 yards of offense generated. Five second-half touchdowns came on drives of five plays or fewer. Heck South Florida quarterback Quinton Flowers impressed as he accounted for 605 yards -- 503 yards passing and 102 yards rushing -- and five touchdowns by himself. Oh, and in case you hadn’t yet heard, late in the fourth quarter there were three touchdowns scored in a span of just 53 seconds, including the game winning 95 yard kickoff return by Mike Hughes after a 83 yard USF score and good 2 point conversion.
The game ended on a defensive fumble recovery for UCF after a completed pass attempt, and that put the game on ice.
Fans sold out the stadium for the first time this year and UCF did enough to impress the ESPN crew, however the Bowl Committee hasn’t given the Knights or the AAC any respect, ranking them only as high as #12 all season, though they are the only undefeated team with Wisconsin after regular season play. This whole playoff system in a sham, it always has been.
Hurricane Irma wreaked havoc early in the season, cancelling a game against Georgia Tech, and bringing in Austin Peay as the National Guard used the stadium as a base during another weekend, but regardless of the strength of schedule, an undefeated season is still damn impressive and should count for something. The second largest school in the nation still lacks the respect it deserves on the field. With the announcement of President Hitt retiring at the end of this year, and speculation on Coach Frost heading elsewhere for more money, lets just hope this weekends contest against Memphis will pack the stadium and leave Central Florida fans with a great holiday season feeling, a sense of pride and a major bowl berth.
Please click on the Gallery below to check our coverage of this great event!